Indians gathered in front of their embassy to protest what they claim was rough handling of their colleagues by the police
Indians rally at Embassy for help - ‘Manhandled’

KUWAIT CITY, June 2: Hundreds of Indians gathered in front of their Embassy in Daiya on June 2 — a majority of them believed to be from Rajasthan state of India — requesting the embassy to intervene on their behalf. During a meeting with the Indian Deputy Chief of Mission Vidhu P. Nair they claimed their colleagues were ‘rough’ handled by the police during a raid on their accommodation. They also said the police raided their homes and arrested several people without verifying their identification. Nair was quoted as saying the embassy will take up the issue with Kuwait’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Meanwhile, some of the ‘demonstrators’ said they also want the embassy to request the Kuwaiti authorities to give those arrested time to leave the country without being fingerprinted to help them come back legally and also to allow them to get their ‘rights’ from their employers. Many of them claimed although their friends and colleagues have valid residence they have been arrested by the authorities but admitted those arrested are holding visa No. 20.

Following the sudden tightening of labor laws targeting ‘illegal residents’, hundreds of people have either been deported or awaiting deportations, many of them Indians. People who are targeted are those residing illegally in the country, those holding domestic work permits but not working for their sponsors and those holding work visa No. 18 but working for ‘others’ other than their original sponsors. One person, who identified himself as R.D., said he paid for his visa in the belief he could work anywhere as long as he did not violate the laws. “It is after coming to Kuwait that I discovered that I had been cheated,” he said.

Another man said he works as a taxi driver but holds the No 20 visa. Since the crackdown began he has parked his taxi and waits for the authorities to relent. He too says he was cheated. He blamed the authorities for allowing ‘people’ to sell visas, particularly domestic visas.

Meanwhile, Kerala’s Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, who is on a brief visit to Kuwait, said he discussed the issue with Nair and the Indian community members here who have conveyed their growing concerns to the minister over the continuous crackdown. The minister said the Indian embassy officials were expected to meet the Kuwaiti authorities in this regard.

In the meantime the Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was in touch of the concerned authorities awaiting a factual report on the situation, said sources.

By: Paul Francis X. Fernandes

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